Branding must to protect, optimise Omani olibanum

SALALAH: There is a call to issue a ‘certificate of origin’ for Omani frankincense and take necessary standardisation steps so that it meets global competition and makes place as a ‘unique product of Oman in the international market’.

The idea here is to protect and optimise the value and the reputation of Omani olibanum. Frankincense researcher Dr Mohsin Musallam al Amri came out with this important suggestion to save Omani olibanum’s identity, purity and give it recognition as a unique product of Oman.

The researcher, who has dedicated himself for the cause of frankincense as a volunteer researcher, appreciated Environment Society of Oman (ESO) for taking up the cause of this rare tree and giving him responsibility for a cause, which is very close to his heart. Mohsin Musallam al AmriIn an interview with the Observer, Dr Mohsin also suggested setting up of a dedicated body to deal with issues related to frankincense, “As sometimes I feel the real focus missing when it comes to taking effective decisions for the upkeep of the frankincense trees and setting a benchmark as per global standards.”

By standardisation Dr Mohsin means setting up of global standards for the branding of frankincense.

“This will give Omani frankincense an edge over others as the quality here is very high. What is happening today is entirely different. All sorts of frankincense are being sold in the market in the name of Omani frankincense and our product sometimes is not getting right recognition,” said Dr Mohsin.

He emphasised on identifying the richness of Omani ‘luban’ with the help of researchers and scientists and commercial experts for branding the product. He suggested a management plan to achieve this goal.

“…The management plan is recommended to be put in place amongst frankincense harvesters and different government bodies such as (but not limited to) Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Office for the Conservation of the Environment, Museum of Frankincense Land, Dhofar Governorate and Ministry of Heritage and Culture.”

He suggested to have a permit system under which the olibanum harvesters should be trained in sustainable harvesting techniques, and their work should be checked or monitored to ensure the norms put in place are thoroughly followed. This would allow frankincense harvesting to be done only by trained and registered harvesters.

“I am telling this because there is a threat of the trees getting extinct due to uncontrolled cutting and this is inevitable if anyone and everyone is allowed to chop the trees to get the gum or olibanum or ‘luban’ in Arabic which means milk.”

Dr Mohsin suggested to have a body to give permission to all those who want to chop the frankincense trees for commercial purpose. “This body should not only function as a licencing body, but as a unit which can tell the interested people how to cut, when to cut and where to cut. Only then we can get the best results in terms of quality and quantity,” he said.

People should understand the value of this tree as also the fact that this is our national heritage. Many people do not want to damage the trees but they do it unknowingly, unintentionally and for the lack of proper knowledge.

“We should offer them opportunity to learn and then can reap better fruits of their labour by serving a great national interest as well.

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER

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